When it comes to starting a web development business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some big decisions.
You may be asking yourself:
- What's the first step in establishing my business?
- How much will it cost to start my web development business?
- How do I price my web development business?
- How do I market my web development business?
- ... so much more!
We walk you through all of the steps; from idea → starting → launching → growing → running your business.
The purpose of this guide is to act as an outline for the steps you'll need to take to get your business running successfully!
💡 Introduction To Starting A Web Development Business
Is Starting A Web Development Business Right For You?
There are many factors to consider when starting a web development business.
We put together the main pros and cons for you here:
Pros of starting a web development business
You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features, products and services for your business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of customers.
• Meaningful business connections
You never know who you will meet as a web development business. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
• High customer retention rates
Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.
• High margins
The gross margins for your web development business are typically around 50%, which is considerably high and allows you to grow your business and manage costs easily.
• Pick & choose the clients you work with
Web Development Businesses have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!
• Control of workload
With starting a web development business, you have the unique ability to choose how little or how much you want to work. You also have the freedom to decide which projects you want to work on, and can turn down the ones that do not interest you.
• Gain exposure and experience
This career allows you to gain experience working for multiple different businesses - which will benefit your resume and also keep things interesting for you!
• Predictable income stream
Your businesses income stream tends to be predictable based on the number of customers you have signed up. This makes financial planning and outlooks much more seamless!
• Higher likelihood of getting referrals
This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.
• Simple business model
A web development business has the advantage of a simple business model, which makes launching and building the business more seamless.
• Control your own destiny
Starting A Web Development Business allows you to control every aspect of your life and make your own dreams come true every day.
• Greater Income Potential
With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.
• You can decide who you work with
Gone are the days of working in a toxic work environment with employees that you may not vibe with. As a small business owner, you get to decide who you work and surround yourself with.
• Express your opinions
With starting a web development business, you can express your opinions and knowledge to your audience, which allows you to build your own reputation and identity.
• You can work from anywhere!
Not only can you start your web development business from home, you can also run your business from anywhere in the world. This is the entrepreneur dream.
• Strong Demand & Relatively Recession Proof
The demand for web development business is increasing year over year and the business is known to be relatively recession proof.
• You get to inspire others
Your business is one that encourages and inspires others, which in itself, can be very fulfilling.
• High Hourly Pay Rates
On average, the hourly pay rates are high for your web development business - which means quality of clients is often superior to quantity of clients.
• Can build solid foundation of clients
It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a web development business. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.
Cons of starting a web development business
• Motivation of employees
If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
• Niche Market
A niche business is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it can be the key to your success. However, it can be more challenging and time consuming to find the perfect niche market and target audience.
• Time commitment
With starting a web development business, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.
• Difficult to build trust with your customer
With starting a web development business, there can be minimal face-to-face interaction, which means it can be a lot more difficult to establish trust with your customers. You'll need to go the extra mile with your customer to grab their attention and business.
• Complex development process.
The development process for a web development business can be quite complex, which may cause delays and challenges when launching and growing your product.
• Complex maintenance
Your web development business will require a long-term investment due to the need for updates, bug fixes, and security vulnerabilities. It's important that you (or someone on your team) stays on top of this at all times.
• Impatient customers
You may offer an engaging user experience for your customer, but customers expect a lot and may be impatient if they aren't pleased with your product or service.
• Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone!
Although this is exciting for some entrepreneurs, it can be a big challenge for others! You may find yourself in uncomfortable social and business situations, jumping into tasks and responsibilities you aren't familiar with, and pushing yourself as far as you can go!
• You might struggle financially (at first)!
If you bootstrap your business or choose not to pay yourself (or pay yourself less than you were making at your corporate job), this can be financially taxing. It's important to adjust your lifestyle and set a plan for yourself so you don't find yourself in a stressful situation.
• Learning Curve
When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.
• Equipment Breakdowns
Over the years, your equipment can get damaged, break down, and may need repairs which can be expensive. It's important you prepare for these expenses and try to avoid damages/wear & tear as much as possible.
• Takes time to see results & make money
Results and revenue do not come overnight with a web development business. Often times, it takes weeks, months or even years for your work to monetize.
• Technical issues can be frustrating
Technical issues are common in this business. If you struggle with the technical side of things, you may want to consider outsourcing this responsibility to save yourself the time and frustration.
• More challenging to earn passive income
It can be more of a challenge to make passive income in this business. Often times, the amount of revenue you bring in is limited by the amount of time you have in the day.
- Webflow.IO (4.41K Alexa Ranking)
- Vuetify (10.3K Alexa Ranking)
- multi screen site (12K Alexa Ranking)
- W3Layouts (12K Alexa Ranking)
- The7 Landing (12.5K Alexa Ranking)
- Wolfpack Digital - Revenue $300K/month
- Huemor - Revenue $250K/month
- SemiDot Infotech - Revenue $200K/month
- Never Settle - Revenue $150K/month
- Materialize - Revenue $125K/month
- Twelvedevs - Revenue $100K/month
- Imaginovation - Revenue $100K/month
- La Teva Web - Revenue $75K/month
- Vivid Candi, Inc. - Revenue $70K/month
- Cantilever Web Design & Development - Revenue $62K/month
- Modern Launch - Revenue $50K/month
- Vuetify - Revenue $25K/month
- TRIARE - Revenue $25K/month
- Create Circus - Revenue $24K/month
- Zovo Team Ltd. - Revenue $20K/month
- Buddy Web Design and Development - Revenue $15K/month
- Eikon Labs - Revenue $15K/month
- Sam Munoz Consulting, LLC - Revenue $11K/month
Let's take a look at the search trends for web development over the last year:
How To Name Your Web Development Business
It's important to find a catchy name for your web development business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your web development business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your web development business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your web development business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your web development business:
- Malevolent Development check availability
- The Spider check availability
- Embryonic check availability
- Trophic Network Spot check availability
- The Giant Website check availability
- Intricate check availability
- Unique check availability
- IntellectualDevelopment check availability
- The Early check availability
- Institutional Maturation check availability
- The Conceptual Innovation check availability
- Growing Group check availability
- World Wide Web Co check availability
- Hep Web check availability
- Psychosexual Maturation Collective check availability
- Analyze Design check availability
- Etiquette Development check availability
- The Terminal check availability
- The Subtle check availability
- Progressive Ontogeny Spot check availability
- Human check availability
- Advancement Co check availability
- Inextricable Online Group check availability
- Cognitive Evolution check availability
- Elegance Development check availability
- The Highest check availability
- The Solid check availability
- The Normal Growth check availability
- Wireless Webcast check availability
- LogicalDevelopment check availability
- Adolescent Exploitation Pro check availability
- The Continuous Growth check availability
- Figure Collective check availability
- Invention Collective check availability
- Sep Web check availability
- Human Growth check availability
- Evolution Place check availability
- Narrow check availability
- Mechanical check availability
- The Overall Ontogenesis check availability
- Postnatal Project Place check availability
- Experimental Blueprint Spot check availability
- Regional Developing Trading Co check availability
- The Progressive Ontogenesis check availability
- LongitudinalDesign check availability
- Decorative Diagram check availability
- DenseWeb check availability
- Functional check availability
- Proper Contrive Collective check availability
- Extensive Online Co check availability
- Detailed Drawings check availability
- Further Maturation Co check availability
- The Functional check availability
- Based check availability
- Ecological Network Collective check availability
- The Oriented check availability
- Benevolent Development check availability
- InextricableWeb check availability
- Wide Www check availability
- Delight Design check availability
- Wet Net Collective check availability
- Future Growth check availability
- Institutional Maturation Pro check availability
- The Sound check availability
- The Complicated Homepage check availability
- Intricate Www Group check availability
- Modern Pattern check availability
- Further Exploitation Place check availability
- ArchitecturalDesign check availability
- Purpose Co check availability
- The Marine check availability
- Defined Design check availability
- SpiderWeb check availability
- Picture element Development check availability
- Decorative Innovation check availability
- Appropriate Aim Co check availability
- Careful Invention check availability
- Conscious Innovation Trading Co check availability
- Vane Trading Co check availability
- Www Place check availability
- Ontogeny Place check availability
- World Website check availability
- Detailed Development check availability
- Ecological World Wide Web Trading Co check availability
- Marine Website check availability
- Vane Spot check availability
- Innovation Group check availability
- Physical check availability
- The Psychological Developing check availability
- StandardDesign check availability
- Affectionate Development check availability
- Emotional check availability
- The Cosmic check availability
- Tangled check availability
- Balanced Figure Collective check availability
- World Entanglement Collective check availability
How To Create A Slogan For Your Web Development Business:
Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.
The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.
Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.
Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your web development business:
1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words
A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.
2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different
There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:
- Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
- What problem do you solve?
- How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
- Do you make people more successful? How?
3. Be consistent
Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.
It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.
4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan
Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.
When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.
5. Consider your audience
When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.
It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.
6. Get feedback!
This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.
Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.
Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your web development business:
- Development Reaching For The Stars.
- Economic Progresses Are What We Do
- See You At Design.
- Design For The Masses.
- Web Comes To Those Who Wait.
- Developments With Use
- Complicated Networkings Are What We Do
- Development - Australian For Beer.
- If You've Got The Time, We've Got The Web.
- Grand Pattern, Structural Designers
- You've Got Questions. We've Got Development.
- Building Is What We Do
- Pure Design.
- Development - Be Prepared.
- Early Development, Built For You
- Order Of The Vane
- Work Hard, Tented Harder
- The Ideal Web.
- Design First At The Finish Line!
- Vorsprung Durch Web.
- The Web People.
- Station Of The Vane
- Set Of The Homepage
- Development For Hire.
- Design For Everyone.
- See You At Development.
- Webs With Majority
- Web Is My Sport.
- Designs With Art
- Post Of The Ontogenesis
- Web Makes You Sexy!
- Feel It - Web!
- You Can Be Sure Of Development.
- Final Excogitations Are What We Do
- Break Me Off A Piece Of That Design.
- Nothing Is Faster Than Web.
- Graphic Constructions Are What We Do
- Developments With Yield
- Final Project, Overall Pattern
- The Best Web Under One Roof.
- Future Developing, Historical Expansion
- Work Hard, Posted Harder
- Go To Work On A Development.
- Final Arts Are What We Do
- Artwork Is What We Do
- A Web Is Forever.
- Web, When No One Else Is Around.
- Experimental And Special
- The President Buys Web.
- Work Hard, Tented Harder
- There Is No Sore It Will Not Heal, No Design It Will Not Subdue.
- Mamma Mia, That'sa Spicy Design!
- See You At Web.
- Work Hard, Conceptualize Harder
- You Can't Stop Development.
- Design Chews 'Em Up And Spits 'Em Out.
- Have A Break. Have A Design.
- Implementing Is What We Do
- Web, Let The Good Times Roll.
The Consulting Business Model
When implementing a consulting business model, you have a number of approaches to choose from:
Here are a few of the most common consulting business models:
1. The Time-Based Model
This is one of the more traditional consulting business models - where your rate, terms, and scope of work are outlined at the very beginning of the project.
Typically, with this model you would choose a day rate or an hourly rate.
2. The Project-Based Model
With a project-based model, you and your client agree on the scope of work you will be performing for a set amount of money.
There is typically a contract in place which covers the deliverables and expectations from both parties.
3. The Retainer-Based Model
The retainer model involves providing ongoing service for your clients over a specific period of time.
You may not provide a specific deliverable for your client, but instead, a broad scope of work over a set period.
4. The Consulting-Firm Model
This model is becoming more and more popular. The consulting firm model involves hiring freelancers or employees to complete work for your clients on your behalf.
Typically, in this situation, you still manage the relationship with the client, but you delegate some or all of the work to your team.
Which model should you choose?
The best way to determine which business model you will choose is to research other entrepreneurs or agencies in your space that are offering the same or similar service.
This will allow you to identify your competition, set your pricing, and determine your target audience.
🎬 How To Start A Web Development Business
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Web Development Business
If you are planning to start a web development business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a web development business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $62
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $38,061
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a web development business.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you use for your business and give money to the landlord. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$5,750|
|Utility Costs For Office Space: Utility costs are the expense for all the services you use in your office, including electricity, gas, fuels, telephone, water, sewerage, etc.||$0||$1,150|
|WiFi & Internet: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is essential. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$0||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$0 (min)||$7,000 (max)|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses|
|Payroll Costs & Fees: Payroll cost means the expense of paying your employees, which includes salaries, wages, and other benefits. This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K.||$150||$250|
|Employee Hiring Expenses: Apart from payroll and benefits, there are other hiring employees costs. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any other turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate.||$1||$2|
|Employee Rewards: It's vital to acknowledge and reward workers, whether they hit their goals or do a great job. This does not have to be costly. In fact, simply taking workers out to a meal or giving a gift or bonus is among the many ways to show how the worker is valued!||$0||$100|
|Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$151 (min)||$352 (max)|
|Website Builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article.||$10||$500|
|Web Designer: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software.||$200||$6,000|
|Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website.||$12||$200|
|Business Email Hosting Service: An email hosting runs a dedicated email server. Once you have your domain name, you can set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are G Suite and Microsoft 365 Suite. The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$1||$15|
|Website Hosting Costs: Server hosting is an IT service typically offered by a cloud service provider that hosts the website information and allows remote access through the internet. A hosted server can help you scale up and increase your business’s efficacy, relieving you from the hassles of on-premise operations.||$0||$300|
|Website & Live Chat Tool: If your business values high-end customer service, you must consider utilizing a website chatbot. Website chatbots play a pivotal role in converting site visitors into long-term customers. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and features offered by Live Chat service providers.||$0||$200|
|Total Website Costs||$223 (min)||$7,215 (max)|
|Business Formation Fees|
|Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your web development business.||$50||$700|
|Trademark: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700).||$0||$700|
|Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses.||$0||$1,500|
|A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO.||$5,000||$15,000|
|Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business.||$50||$500|
|Total Business Formation Fees||$5,600 (min)||$20,400 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here.||$0||$100|
|IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals.||$150||$2,000|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software system is used to track and analyze your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your business, implementing this, in the beginning, may set your business up for success and save you valuable time.||$12||$300|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your web development business, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses!||$0||$200|
|File Hosting Service: It's important to make sure the information for your web development business is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Total Software Expenses||$162 (min)||$3,094 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$62 (min)||$38,061 (max)|
Raising Money For Your Web Development Business
Here are the most common ways to raise money for your web development business:
You may not need funding for your web development business.
In fact, many entrepreneurs take this approach when starting their own business, whether they have a little amount of cash or a substantial amount to get started.
So what exactly does the term "bootstrapping" mean?
This method essentially refers to self-funding your businesswithout external help or capital and reinvesting your earnings back into the business**
Bootstrapping means building your company from the ground up with your own, or your loved ones, personal savings and reinvesting all earnings back into the business
Here are some tips to consider when bootstrapping your business:
- Use your savings as your capital - one of the best ways to bootstrap your business is to collect your savings and use them as startup capital. This will also help you avoid using your personal or business credit cards when getting started.
- Determine exactly how much capital you need and how much capital you have to get your business off the ground. Generally, when bootstrapping your business, you may want to consider starting a business that involves less startup capital.
- Consider starting a business that will generate immediate returns so you can put money back into the business
- Be as lean as possible - this refers to cutting down expenses as much as possible, such as payroll, fancy software tools, unnecessary travel, renting an office, etc
- Consider outsourcing instead of hiring - in the beginning, you may not need to hire someone permanently to help run your business. It tends to be much less expensive to outsource work to a freelancer and hire someone permanently down the road!
Want to learn more about bootstrapping your business? Check out this article
VC funding is a traditional and long process, but an effective way to raise money for your business.
The term "VC funding" refers to venture capital firms investing in businesses in exchange for equity.
The VC's (venture capitalists) are an individual or small group investing in your business and typically require substantial ownership of the business, with the hope of seeing a return on their investment.
VC's are typically the best approach for businesses with high startup costs - where it would be very difficult to raise the money on your own or through a loan.
When deciding whether to take this approach, it's important that you have a few things in place first, and know what you're getting yourself into:
Determine if your business is ready
Having an idea is not enough to get VC funding.
Typically, VC's will check to make sure you have these things in place prior to closing any deal:
- An MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
- A founding team with all proper documents in place (articles of organization, business formation)
- A validated idea with actual customers buying your product/service
Get everything in place and build a pitch deck
A VC individual or firm will be expecting a fine-tuned presentation that gives an overview of your business.
Here's what you should consider including in your pitch deck:
- Management team, their previous experience + current roles in the business
- Market challenge and solution
- Company financials - including a P&L statement, cash flow statement, and projections
- Company progress
- Investment amount - how much do you need and why?
Research the right VC to fund your business
Research the types of VC investors out there and what niche they focus on.
Then, put together a list of target VC's you want to approach and your strategy around setting up meetings.
Be sure you have everything in place (as discussed above) before setting up any meeting!
Make sure the terms and expectations are right for your business
Committing to VC funding is a big deal and a decision that should not be made lightly.
Although the money and experience from VC's can help your business quickly grow, you are also giving away a stake in the company, and the money comes with strings attached.
Be sure you do your due diligence in finding the right investor - one that truly believes in the growth and success of your business.
What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A Web Development Business?
As a web development business, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.
Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:
Self Motivation Skills
Self motivation and discipline skills are critical in order to become successful in this field.
It's likely that you will find yourself starting and running your web development business from home, which could mean there are more distractions for you.
Here are the basic skills needed for self motivation & discipline:
- Becoming a self starter: It's important that you are capable of independently completing a task without the help or direction of anyone else
- Listening and following directions: When you are given direction by others, it's critical that you are able to follow directions and ask the right questions in order to get your job done
- Taking the initiative in problem solving: Instead of taking the easy route, you'll need to learn to troubleshoot issues on your own as much as possible.
Customer Service Skills
Friendly communication with customers and the ability to address service issues is a critical part of the job.
Here are some customer service skills you may want to consider prior to starting a web development business:
- Professionalism: The way you act, present yourself, and respond to situations all leave an impression on your customer. It's important to stay professional at all times when handling customer requests or issues.
- Problem-solving: When issues arise, it's important that you are able to think quick on your feet and address the situation with a calm and clear solution
- Friendly-manner: This is an obvious one, but customers truly appreciate someone that can respond in a quick, efficient, and friendly manner.
- Proficient in writing: These skills include the ability to write well-crafted emails, service tickets, and any other programs used by the business (ie. chat functions, SMS texting)
Business Savvy Skills
When starting a web development business, there are a few fundamental business skills you will want to learn in order to be successful:
- Leadership and training skills: A great team starts with YOU. Make sure you have all company policies and training procedures in place prior to hiring your team
- Decisive and self-confident: Over the course of your career, you will need decisions that could impact your business significantly. It's important you are able to think clearly and rationally about these decisions.
- Ability to understand the financials: You don't need to be an accountant, but it is important that you are able to clearly understand and define metrics such as expenses, revenue, profit, margins, COGS, etc.
- Strategic Thinking: Setting clear goals and benchmarks, identifying opportunities, risks. Ability to effectively communicate these insights to your team.
These are a few of many business savvy skills you should have (or work on) when starting a web development business.
For a full list, check out this article here.
Whether you are the one designing the product or the decision-maker for the product, an eye for design is critical when starting a web development business. Here's what this looks like:
- Creative Thinking - the ability to develop or design different products or ideas
- Visualization - being able to imagine or visualize how the product will look
- Articulation - the ability to communicate what the design will look like and how it will be executed
- Detail-oriented - paying close attention to all of the small pieces when designing or working on a project
- Some technical skills - knowledge of the design software you are using to create the product or build prototypes.
Other skills that may be valuable to have when starting a web development business include digital marketing skills, branding experience, and basic business knowledge.
Here are some critical skills you will need to start your web development business:
- Language acquisition: Common languages include Java, Ruby, Python, HTML)
- Creative thinking: Ability to develop innovative solutions and think outside the box
- Analytical skills: Ability to troubleshoot issues quickly and efficiently
- Attention to detail: Precise and detailed in the approach so that little to no errors arise
- Calm & Collective: Critical that you are able to stay patient when challenges arise
- Communication skills: The ability to explain your approach in a clear and concise way that all team members can understand.
To see more skills and qualities people look for in a web development business, check out this article.
Resarch and Writing Skills
Research and writing skills are critical when starting a web development business. Here's what this looks like:
- Basic computer & technology skills (Microsoft office or Google sheets/docs knowledge, data input, and proficiency in typing)
- Creativity & originality in your work and approach
- Great communication skills and ability to meet deadlines
- Understanding of SEO
Other skills that businesses find valuable include digital marketing skills, basic web design, and accounting abilities. Some employers may also look for a web development business that has a bachelor's degree or formal education.
Additionally, you may want to consider putting together a portfolio of past work and experience. This includes samples of writing/research pieces, from school projects to internship work to career experience.
Advice For Starting A Web Development Business
We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a web development business:
Sam, founder of Sam Munoz Consulting, LLC ($11K/month):
You HAVE to believe in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it - otherwise it is not sustainable.
Read the full interview ➜
Ty Fujimura, founder of Cantilever Web Design & Development ($62K/month):
I regret bootstrapping because it forced us into making decisions based on the fear of running out of money, rather than on trying to find long-term value.
Read the full interview ➜
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your web development business.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
Setting Up Your Web Development Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?
Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).
But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.
There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:
1. Owner's Draw
Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.
At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.
As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.
This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.
If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.
The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:
- Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
- Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
- Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
- Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
- Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.
To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.
How To Price Your Web Development
One of the most challenging aspects to starting a web development business is determining how much to charge for your web development.
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your web development, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your web development so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your web development may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your web development, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your web development business to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your web development is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your web development fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your web development, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Rate Calculator: How to Calculate The Price For Your Web Development Services
Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.
The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand the hourly rate you should be charging to make your desired profit.
Please input below:
What Type Of Clients Will Buy Your Web Development
It's important to first establish who you will be selling to, whether it's to businesses or consumers.
Typically, in this industry, products are sold to B2B markets (business-to-business).
Let's take a look at what this means for your web development business:
B2B (or business to business) is a transaction where your web development business sell's your product or service to other businesses to help them grow.
Business-to business industries typically includes SaaS products, B2B marketing firms, and other business supply companies.
Unlike B2C markets, the audience is not a consumer at all, but instead a business - so it's important to understand how to best market your product/services to that target audience.
With B2B, driving leads means understanding another company's business processes and creating a business strategy that will help their operation scale and grow.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Your main focus when selling to other businesses is showing value to their business and overall return on investment
- Focus on building relationships, rather than extending your brand awareness through social networks.
- Marketing approach should include things like attending conventions, conferences, and optimizing your online presence (SEO, email outreach, etc)
- Understand that the sales process may mean more effort educating your client, so it's important that you have a well-trained sales team that is knowledgable about the product
Identify Target Customer
A very critical piece in building web development business is to identify your ideal target customer.
- Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
- The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".
Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
When building a web development business, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.
This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.
If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your web development business, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.
The point of your web development prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.
In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.
How To Build A MVP
Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:
- Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
- Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
- Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like
Mahamud Hasan, founder of Zovo Team Ltd. dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:
Our work is based on a service which is graphic design. Earlier in my career, I had worked with over 200+ brands as per freelance-based work worldwide. Day by day, those brands wanted more and more designs for their social media and marketing purposes so I decided to add more team members to my team to provide quality-based designs for my clients. I faced a lot of issues; for e.g, our client was paid as per quantity. If they need 50+ designs per month then our team should provide the designs for a minimum of 5-7 days. Which is tough for the whole team. So, I had to hire people as per project-based. That's why I added a lot of team members which were maybe 70+ but maintained the quality and quantity. I saw that a lot of team members have a lot of concepts and a lot of issues. So, I again built a strong team that loves work and has the passion to do work better. After all, my team gave me a lot of effort and hard work, and also the result was positive and unbelievable. After a few months, we added Web development, App development, Search Engine Optimization, Animation, and a lot of essential services.
As I said earlier, my startup cost was 200$. This amount was managed by my savings. In the last report of our analyses, Zovo Team Ltd has reached 120k$+ revenue per year which averages 11.5k$/month. For accounts-related work, 70% of accounting is managed by me and one accountant helped me to finish. I use to manage my client list and their work by Google Sheet, Google docs, Google Drive, and Business mail. For customer relation management, I use one of our Bangladeshi-based startups called atithisheba.com, they help me to receive client calls, customer inquiries, email replies, SMS reply and more.
For project Payment collection, our company uses local banks, mobile banking, Paypal and Payoneer. As we know, market analysis is more important than executing any plan. In my general education, I have studied in the Science group ( SSC and HSC). So, I have no knowledge about business strategy, accounting, business execution plan, how to run a startup, and also which niche is better for me. Then I use Google search engine, Bing, business-related news portal, case study, business youtube channel and also follow the SWOT rules. I spent a lot of time learning more about business-related industries, even though I had previously done a lot of online-based courses to increase my skills and knowledge. When I realized my English speaking skill is at a very poor level, I found a training center called SALT LAB. The founder of that training center is Mr.Ashiqur Rahman who helped me for a long time so that I could improve my speaking skills and it worked. In a single month, I spent a minimum of 300+ hours on it.
After 1.5 years of startup age, we decided to do our legal documents to work smoothly, and also we respected the country's law. Our team researched and provided important hints about the legal document. We rearranged our online-based startup to an Incorporation company (formally Private limited). We also got 4 new shareholders, 7 co-founders for our sub-brand.
Do work which you like the most and are interested in, don’t work if it doesn’t give you happiness and pleasure.
Our Business and brand trademark, Tradelince, TIN (tax identification Number, BIN (Business identification number/VAT registration) within 3 months. For this kind of document registration, I got a lot of support from my beloved friend Mr. Syed Rifat Hossain. I am really lucky that a lot of people helped me in my startup career like Al Nahian, Mr. Syed Rifat Hossain, Rubel Mia.
🚀 How To Launch Your Web Development Business
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Best Website Platforms To Use For Your Web Development Business:
There are a variety of websites platforms out there, and it's important to choose the right one that will set you up for success.
Here's everything you need to know about the two most common platforms for your web development business:
Free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL.
Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.
Businesses using WordPress:
The all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website.
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
Businesses using Squarespace:
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Traditional Launch Strategies For Your Web Development Business:
There are various different ways you can launch your web development business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your web development business:
- Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
- Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
- Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
- Live sales to get customers excited
- Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.
Chris Wizner, founder of Vivid Candi, Inc. dives deep into the process of launching the business:
Launching our agency was certainly a challenge at age 16 with only a $300 Taco Bell paycheck to fund it as capital to begin. At first, I invested in getting a good computer and learning graphic design. After much self-teaching, I began selling the service to neighbors and locals using flyers I designed myself and would walk around at night through commercial business parks.
Slowly but surely I got my first few clients including a mirror company, a sunglass brand and a few realtors. I began literally as a one-man shop doing everything for these clients from start to finish. I ground and hustled hard to start earning a profit in my first year.
As things continued around age 16, I found out about Chamber of Commerce networking events which was a huge key to my future success. Essentially I saw these as free marketing opportunities to meet key decision-makers. People thought because I was young that I wasn’t serious but I always flipped that and turned it to my advantage. After a few networking events, I gained numerous clients including Pepperdine University and Gotcha which were HUGE at that time for me. Things continued to take flight and upon high school graduation, the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce gave me a scholarship for being their youngest member at just age 17.
The business began in an abandoned room of a condemned guest house in Agoura Hills, California on a property that my mother was renting. Certainly humble beginnings and then he moved with me to an apartment we shared in Westlake Village, California for another year.
Around age 18 my mother moved us to a small guest house in Malibu, California which ended up being a life-changing move for me. Malibu ended up adopting me fully and changing my life in the future to come. At first Malibu was incredibly unacceptable to me and it was a nightmare to try and gain access to the businesses there. One day through a Malibu Chamber of Commerce event I was lucky enough to meet the publisher and founder of Malibu Magazine at it’s beginning days. That was one door that opened many doors and allowed me to fastly take the Malibu market as a leading advertising agency. The rest was history from there.
Through the entire launch process, I learned so many lessons, especially since I never got formally educated for any of it. One of my first lessons was to have thick skin and I learned this working with Malibu Magazine’s founder Mia DInelly. She was one tough cookie and she’d keep me up till 2 or 3am some nights making changes to meet their print deadlines. I learned not to take her feedback or stressful moments personally and instead focused on delivering results. All this time later, she’s the amazing woman that graciously gave me a ring to propose to my now wife.
Another lesson that was tough as nails were learning when to fire people. Once you go from a one-man shop to employing people the entire game changes and you have to work smart, not hard while surrounding yourself with talented harmonious people. Many times I waited too long to fire a bad apple. Just like apples, if you have a basket with one bad apple it can actually be contagious and destroy the rest of the apples.
Ultimately the smartest lesson I learned was to ALWAYS KNOW YOUR NUMBERS AND RUN YOUR BUSINESS OFF WORST CASE NUMBERS MAKING THAT SUCCESSFUL. Without proper finances and well-projected business models, it can be impossible to operate and scale a business. If you make the worst-case scenario a good cause, you’ll almost always be pleasantly surprised.
🌱 How To Grow Your Web Development Business
Consider Working With Instagram Influencers
Partnering with like-minded influencers (within your industry) is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media organically.
Industry influencers already have an established and loyal following. With one post, your product immediately establishes a connection with a brand new audience. It's that powerful.
When finding influencers to promote your product, do your research and make sure that their following will actually be interested in your product.
It's easy to be blinded by any influencer with a huge following, but if those followers don't resonate with your product, there may not be any value there... so make sure you do your research!
Evan Marshall, founder of Plain Jane discusses how "micro-influencers" have impacted his business:
Influencer marketing has been huge for us. Our approach is pretty simple. We give out samples of our products and ask people to post about us on social media aka a micro-influencer strategy.
We really like this approach because we get authentic stories and content. We cannot really control the messaging so the product has to speak for itself. We don’t really take product photos at all. Our customers take the photos and we ask to reuse them.
With any influencer strategy, you have to be very sure you’re targeting the right people and engaging with them. You can make sure you’re targeting the right influencers by looking through their posts and then looking through the profiles of their engaged followers.
It takes more time per influencer but the payoff is certainly worth it. Make sure their followers look like your existing customers.
It takes a ton of time and work to grow a social media following this way but it’s worth it. Other accounts have tried to grow themselves through botting or other manipulations. As a CBD company, we didn’t want to give Instagram any reason to shutdown our account so we’ve done everything through content and real engagement. It’s not magic to make this happen. You just have to post consistently and then reply or like every single comment you get. It takes months but it works
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your web development business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Build A Blog
One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.
We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:
Consistency and Quantity
Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.
What’s more important is consistency and quantity.
Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.
This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.
The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.
This is nonsense.
There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.
For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.
You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.
Patience & Persistence
Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.
The only thing you have control over is your content.
You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.
So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.
Where to share your blog content
I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.
Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.
Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.
An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.
Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.
It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.
Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.
Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.
When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.
We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
Add an exit-intent popup to your online store
A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.
That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Abandonded Cart Flow
The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.
Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.
Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."
Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.
Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.
Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:
Things they do well:
- Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
- Offer a small discount + free shipping
- Great design + clear call to actions!
Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
- Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
- Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.
PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.
Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.
Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:
My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.
It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.
From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).
A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.
Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.
To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to web development business.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:
The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.
We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.
Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:
- Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
- Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
- Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
- Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Web Development Business
How To Retain Customers For Your Web Development Business
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your web development business.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your web development business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Jitu Bhaskar, founder of SemiDot Infotech dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:
Attracting and retaining customers is one of the most crucial tasks for businesses to perform for attaining long-term growth and success. It helps to build a loyal customer base for the business. At SemiDot, we work too hard to create a smooth & strong onboarding experience for our clients.
We make sure that SemiDot offers excellent customer service to all its clients. For this, our primary focus is on the communication part as it leads to either deal conversion or proposal rejection. We remain transparent with our clients and thus make sure that accurate information is conveyed to them without any later-on surprises related to the delivery date, costs, or other aspects of app development.
We always focus on providing a cohesive experience at all the touchpoints so that there doesn’t take place any sort of miscommunication. We build trust through relationships and for that, we prepare a frequent communication calendar so that at proper intervals customers can be in touch for any updates or changes. Also, one of our key strategies is to implement a customer feedback loop where there is a structured system for gathering, analyzing, and checking customer reviews. This helps us in improving at every stage of work. We try to learn & improve so much from our client’s feedback.
Currently, the effective SEO strategies we are following to get more business and clients include-
- Planning and executing the latest SEO tactics as per the new guidelines to improve the organic search ranking of the website.
- Checking the current stats after goal completion, result tracking, and analyzing keywords’ ranking while identifying the growth are some of the things we do regularly.
- For branding purposes, we run different google display campaigns along with doing press releases mentioning the brand’s name. Then, we publish them on popular websites with high DA (domain authority).
- Mostly, we go for organic results but in case, if we have to go for an aggressive approach for fast business growth, we prefer to do paid listing on B2B platforms like Clutch.co, GoodFirms, DesignRush, G2, etc. along with conducting paid campaigns on Google ads, Meta, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, and others.
- At present, we are focusing on blog outreach, influencer marketing, link mentions, skyscraper, Haro, Resource link building, Reverse image link building, PR Mentions, Interviews, and Content Marketing.
When it is to blog content, we are focusing on mobile and web app development including its costs and features. Alongside this, we are also publishing step-by-step guides to provide a detailed understanding of different topics to business enthusiasts. We have 7 to 8 experts including SEOs and content developers who focus on publishing quality content on famous article sites like HubPages, HackerNoon, ThriveGlobal, VocalMedia, Medium, etc. and guest sites including Small Biz Trends, Investopedia, Business Insider, etc. to promote the brand.
Here are some examples of our published content;
How To Start An Electric Scooter Business
eelearning App Development Guide
A Complete Guide To Metaverse
A Comprehensive Guide To iOs App Development
Vet On-demand App Development Cost
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
Provide Great Customer Service
Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.
Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.
Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.
As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.
Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.
If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.
There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.
Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.
Build a Referral Program
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.
A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.
A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a web development business is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
How To Crush The Sales Process For Your Web Development Business
You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.
Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.
Mike Korba, co-founder of User.Com walks us through the entire sales process and which teams are responsible for what:
User.com Sales Process
Each user and account is qualified with a specialist. For business leads, they are handled by the sales team, and if they are qualified we give them a demo, more than often at the end of their fourteen-day trial. If they’re happy they’ll add a payment, and get an account manager, so a customer support and success team who will help implement the solution and to use the technology.
Sometimes, users will convert naturally on their own, after using the freemium product and finding it to be something that they will find beneficial.
After they convert, we help with onboarding, give them some personalized tips for their specific business or industry to grow plus all kinds of support, for whatever they need - something we take huge pride in.
The team is right now more than 30 people, with more than half working on the IT and product side, and the rest are in three teams: Support, Marketing, and Sales who all work together very closely.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your web development business.
- Platform tools such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Google Shopping, Wayfair, 3dcart, Custom Built, Wix.com, Weebly, Webflow, Magento, Drupal, Prestashop, Heroku, Adobe Creative Cloud, React, Amazon Web Services, Angular, Node.js, Laravel, Walmart.com, Django, Vue, Canva, trello, firebase, Vercel or Figma
- Email tools such as MailChimp, SendinBlue, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Revue, SendGrid, G Suite or EmailOctopus
- Social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Buffer, Reddit, Flickr, Medium, Tiktok or Vimeo
- Advertising tools such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Google AdSense, Twitter Ads, Amazon Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Google ads, Apple Search Ads or Pinterest Ads
- Design tools such as Canva, pixlr, Adobe Suite, Sketch, Figma, 99designs, Divi or HubSpot’s form builder
- Analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or Google Forms
- Productivity tools such as Google Suite, Dropbox, Slack, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Notion, Calendly, Toggl, Jira, Airtable or Discord
- Payments tools such as Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Payments, TransferWise, Apple Pay or Venmo
- Customer service tools such as Zendesk, Facebook Chat App, HelpCenter, TawkTo, Zopim or jivochat
- Blog tools such as WordPress
- Accounting tools such as Quickbooks, Xero or Google Sheets
- Crm tools such as Hubspot or Zoho
- Freelance tools such as Fiverr, Upwork, freelance.com, Toptal or guru
- Education tools such as Udemy or Teachery
- Stock images tools such as Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels or Freepix
- Seo tools such as Ahrefs, SEO ranger, Benchmark Hero, Agency Analytics, Screaming Frog, Yoast, Moz, KWFinder, SERanking, Serpstat, Alexa, Rankmath or SpyFu
- Web hosting tools such as WP Engine, GoDaddy or Cloudways
- Reviews tools such as Trustpilot, Yelp, Reviews.io, Google My Business, Capterra, TripAdvisor, airbnb, G2 Crowd, Product Hunt, Glassdoor, Clutch or RevLocal
- Podcast tools such as Spotify
- ** tools** such as Email Marketing Tool
- App tools such as Flutter
- Running A Web Design Business From Home: How To Find And Keep Good Clients And Make Money With Your Home Business
- How To Start A Web Development Company: Step-By-Step Guide
- Web Development Business - How To Start - 7 Step Guide
- How I Started A $150K/Month App Agency That Works With The Fortune 500
- How I Left Silicon Valley And Started A $100K/Month Digital Agency
- How I Started A $150K/Month Web And App Development Company
- How I Started A $9K/Month WordPress Templates Business
- Starting A Business At 16 And Growing It To $70K/Month Thanks To Networking
- How I Started A $750K/Year Web Development Agency
- On Starting A Web Development Agency In The Early 00s And Growing It To $75K/Month And 20 Employees
- How I Turned My Childhood Passion Into A $180K/Year Web Design Consultancy
- How We Started A $3M/Year Digital Marketing Agency In Just 90 Days
- We Built A $150K/Year Portfolio Of Online Businesses [From Bangladesh]
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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